Hockey Today May 31

Hockey Today May 31

Saturday's best NHL bet
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Detroit vs. Pittsburgh -115, 5

And suddenly, we have a series.

For the second straight contest, the series-underdog Penguins are favored to win a game in the Stanley Cup finals. The odds come after Sidney Crosby led the Pens with two goals in a 3-2 victory over Detroit in Game 3 Wednesday night.

The Red Wings now take a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 at Mellon Arena, where the Pens are 9-0 in the playoffs and where nobody has been able to beat them since San Jose did it in a shootout back on Feb. 24. That’s an incredible home undefeated streak of 17 games.

On the other side of things, Detroit is in an unfamiliar situation. The veteran Red Wings are at risk of losing consecutive games in a Stanley Cup final for the first time since 1995 when they lost in four straight to the Devils.

Detroit hopes it can avoid that fate by carrying the momentum of a late third period goal by Johan Franzen in Game 3. Franzen missed Game 1 and most of the Western final due to concussion symptoms. But it appears as though the Wings have the sniper back to himself, the same one who leads the playoffs in goals with 13 and the guy who racked up nine goals in four games in the Colorado series.

Detroit will also need to find a way to overcome the adjustments Pittsburgh made in Game 3. The Penguins were less aggressive on their forecheck and hung back when the Red Wings gained control of the puck in their own end. Detroit ended up turning the puck over more in the neutral zone, something Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien talked about improving on before the game.

The Red Wings still managed to outshoot the Pens for the third straight game, 34-24, but they didn’t get as many quality scoring chances. Still, Game 3 saw five goals combined, the most in the series. Initially oddsmakers opened this series by setting the total at 5 ½ goals for the first two games, but that number has since dropped.

Evgeni Malkin is doing his part to keep totals low, which has to be a concern for Pittsburgh. He has no points in this series and has made little impact. Marian Hossa, the team’s leading goal scorer in the playoffs, also has yet to score, though he did chip in with two assists last game.

Both teams took the day off on Thursday to rest up before Saturday so we should see a fast-paced, hard-hitting game.

Pick: Red Wings +110

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Re: Hockey Today May 31

Detroit Red Wings vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins will both be gunning for a victory on Saturday when they meet at Mellon Arena.

Oddsmakers currently have the Red Wings listed as 102-moneyline favorites versus the Penguins, while the game's total is sitting at 5.

Sidney Crosby scored twice as the Penguins defeated the Red Wings 3-2 in Wednesday's Game 3 as -125 favorites. The five goals went as a PUSH against the posted over/under (5).

Adam Hall potted the other Penguins marker, and Marian Hossa pocketed two assists in Game 3. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots in the win.

Johan Franzen and Mikael Samuelsson scored for the Red Wings, who were +105 underdogs in that game. Chris Osgood made 21 saves in a losing effort.

Team records:
Detroit: 54-21-7
Pittsburgh: 47-27-8

Detroit most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 7-2-1
Before playing Edmonton are 5-5
After playing Pittsburgh are 4-4-1
After a loss are 6-4

Pittsburgh most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 3-7
Before playing Ottawa are 4-6
After playing Detroit are 4-4-1
After a win are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
Detroit is 12-3 SU in its last 15 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Detroit's last 5 games when playing Pittsburgh
Detroit is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Pittsburgh
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Detroit's last 11 games when playing on the road against Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 5 games when playing Detroit
Pittsburgh is 13-4 SU in its last 17 games
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Pittsburgh's last 11 games when playing at home against Detroit

Next up:
Pittsburgh at Detroit, Monday, June 2

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Stanley Cup Gameday
By David Harrison

After a two-day break the Red Wings and Penguins return to the ice for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final on Saturday night, with Detroit holding a 2-1 series lead.

Pittsburgh finally got on the board in the series with a desperately needed 3-2 victory as a -120 favorite. After getting shut out in the first two games of the series, Pittsburgh’s usually potent offense finally woke up at home. Sidney Crosby got things started with a pair of goals, while Adam Hall netted what turned out to be the eventual game-winner. Marian Hossa delivered a pair of assists, but Evgeni Malkin was held off the scoresheet again and managed only three shots on goal.

Detroit’s Johan Franzen proved he hadn’t lost his scoring touch after missing six games, with his playoff-leading 13th goal in the loss. Mikael Samuelsson also scored for Detroit, while the Red Wings' two top scorers, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were both held pointless for only the third time in these playoffs.

Even though Crosby netted a pair of goals for the Pens on Wednesday night, the MVP of the game was actually goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury faced a barrage of 34 shots from Detroit and made 32 big saves in the victory. Detroit’s Chris Osgood faced 24 shots and made 21 saves. The veteran Osgood has now allowed more than two goals only four times during Detroit’s playoff run.

Pittsburgh should like their chances of tying up the series on Saturday night and the Vegas oddsmakers agree after setting them as a -120 favorite in the game. After winning on Wednesday night, the Penguins remained perfect at home in the postseason with a 9-0 record. When you include the regular season, Pittsburgh has now won 17 straight games at Mellon Arena.

The total for Game 4 opened at 5, the same number which was used for Game 3. The total for the first two games of the series was set at 5.5, but after two Unders the oddsmakers dropped it to 5 making Game 4 a push for total bettors.

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Hockey Today

Detroit at Pittsburgh (8 p.m., EDT). The Penguins, who have won 17 straight home games since Feb. 24, try to knot the Stanley Cup finals at two games apiece after taking Game 3 on Wednesday night.

ON THIN ICE

Detroit takes a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 in Pittsburgh on Saturday night. A Red Wings victory forces the Penguins to win three straight games to claim the Cup - two in Detroit, where Pittsburgh was outscored 7-0 in the first two games. The Penguins' only two losses in those rounds were in Game 4, to the Rangers and Flyers.

TEAM-BONDING

Blocked by the NHL from returning to Detroit during the two-day layoff between Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, the Red Wings spent a day of luxury Thursday at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort about 70 miles south of Pittsburgh. Some players went fishing, others took turns in the pool and jacuzzi or found a host of activities to do.

SIGNED

The New Jersey Devils signed free agent defenseman Anssi Salmela of Finland on Friday. Contract terms were not available. The 23-year-old had 16 goals and 16 assists in 56 games with Tappara of the Finnish League last season. His 16 goals were tops among defensemen in the league.

SPEAKING

``There's a thing called HIPAA compliance where you can never reveal anything about the person. How come we have to do it in the league? Oh, anyway, Holmer's got the back of his leg, the hamstring. He's got a little problem there. We think he'll be fine. He's a tough guy.'' - Detroit coach Mike Babcock on forward Tomas Holmstrom's injury during the Red Wings day off Friday.

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Pens will even the series
By Judd Hall

It’s funny how perception can be changed with the outcome of just one game.

Sportsbook.com made the Penguins slight $1.15 home favorites (risk $115 to win $100) to gain some footing in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals. To be fair, the public was hitting hard and heavy on Detroit in Game 3 after such a thorough butt kicking it put on to open the series…the Pens opened up as $1.40 favorites.

The bettors appeared to get what they expected for much of the first period last Wednesday night. Pittsburgh was getting dominated by the Wings like it had in Games 1 and 2, being outshot 9-1 through almost 13 minutes in the opening act. You could tell that if the Pens didn’t figure anything out soon, the series and not just this contest would be out of reach.

Then Penguins coach Michel Therrien loosened the reins on Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marian Hossa. Therrien allowed his top talent go on the all out attack: crash the boards, grab the puck in open ice and pelt Chris Osgood with anything they could. The result was nine shots on goal by the troika, with Crosby pulling in his first two goals of the series.

Marc-Andre Fleury was happy to see the offense finally start to click as he certainly had to feel he was doing everything on his own in the first two tilts of this championship round. Fleury stopped 32 of 34 shots fired his way to get the win. It was his first victory in four games when his opponent got at least 30 SOG.

Detroit kept the pressure on the Penguins up until the end of the game, closing the score to its final result of 3-2.

The Wings were happy to see winger Johan Franzen finally back on the ice after being laid out with concussion like symptoms. And he looked as if he hadn’t missed a beat by lighting the lamp once on six shots. Meanwhile Mikael Samuelsson has continued his hot streak against his former team, scoring a goal, his third of this series and fifth of the entire playoffs.

Chris Osgood had his perfect record in the Stanley Cup Finals sullied on Wednesday night. Yet he can’t feel too bad about snuffing out 21 of 24 shots. Given the low total of SOG you can fairly say that Detroit’s defense did its best in trying to contain the Pens.

So can Pittsburgh level this best of seven series?

The sportsbooks are leaning towards the Penguins to get their second win, but just barely by making them $1.20 home favorites. The Red Wings are an even money dog at Mellon Arena. Bettors can expect to see the total holding firm at five as well.

You have to like Pittsburgh in this spot because while they only got 24 shots off, they ran the Red Wings ragged. Most shifts in hockey last around 30 seconds, 40 at the very most. Detroit’s top lines were logging 50 second out on the ice at a time.

When you have guys like Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk playing 25 minutes and 22 minutes a game instead of the standard 20 minutes, you’re looking a club that won’t be able to make as many effective strikes in the offensive zone.

Look for more of the same from the Penguins in trying to catch the Wings in these type of shifts. Now it won’t happen at the start of the game since both sides took Thursday off for some time to recuperate from the wear and tear of the series thus far. But you can bet the Pens will be trying that strategy from midway through the second period on.

Plus, the Pens have won 17 straight at home, including the playoffs…their longest such streak in franchise history. Hard to imagine that streak will stop right now.

NBC will be covering this contest, starting at 8:00 pm EDT.

vegasinsider.com

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NHL SHORT SHEET

Stanley Cup Finals
Game Four
Red Wings Lead, 2-1
Detroit at Pittsburgh, 8:05 ET


Detroit:
22-11 Under Away revenging Away loss
8-11 SU off road loss

Pittsburgh:
9-0 SU at home in playoffs
16-4 SU playing with 2 days rest

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2008 NHL playoffs

Penguins try to even Stanley Cup Finals in Game 4 at home; for third straight game, they were shorthanded more than Detroit, but allowed just one power play goal in 9:51 shorthanded. Will be interesting to see how Wings come out in Game 5 after they got punched in face for first time in series Wednesday. Pitt has yet to lose at home in playoffs (8-0) while Detroit is 5-4 on road this playoff season.

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Trend Sheet

DETROIT vs. PITTSBURGH
Detroit is 12-3 SU in its last 15 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Detroit's last 6 games
Pittsburgh is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Detroit
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 5 games when playing Detroi

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